PUT A LITTLE BLOOM INTO YOUR GARDEN; With the Chelsea Flower Show and Bloom Just About to Kick off, I Predict the Trends of This Year's Show and Show You How to Transfer Inspirational Ideas into Your Own Garden.
AFTER nine months of planning and a frenetic three weeks of building and planting, Chelsea Flower Show has finally opened its doors to the public
Backed by big names and funded by eye-watering budgets, some of the show gardens may appear to have little in common with the majority of gardens here in Ireland.
But behind the corporate advertising and among the heaving crowds you will find a wealth of ideas and the inspirational spirit of the best gardens, and gardeners, in the world.
So far this year, we’ve had an African themed garden, which was created by Prince Harry and keen gardener Kate Moss is also rumoured to be attending for the first time - expect lots of puns from the red-tops.
Of course, the Chelsea Flower Show and Bloom, here in Ireland, are always a showcase for the most inspirational designs, but what can we take from the garden catwalk to the average domestic setting?
It’s easy, just follow my simple tips and you too can create a winning plot.
Pick a Theme
The best place to start is to choose a theme for your garden. Do you want something natural and wild, futuristic and cutting-edge or outlandish and daring? The Chelsea and Bloom shows are all about originality, so this is not the time to play it safe. If you need a little inspiration, check Pinterest’s gardening boards or Instagram to get your creative juices flowing.
Next, I suggest that you sketch out your garden to give you a better idea as to how feasible your design actually is. If something looks out of balance, you can go back to the drawing board, which is always a better alternative than having to pull up plants or move heavy sculptures.
Once you’ve your theme picked, you’ll need to select a stand-out feature, which will form the centrepiece of your creation. Remember, the eye always needs some sort of focal point. Like a composer building up to a crescendo, your garden will also need to havel an element of surprise to thrill and delight.
A good way to improve the look of your garden is to add a garden fountain. This can be both calming and esthetically appealing. I have found out that there's nothing more restful than taking a seat on my garden bench and listening to the sparkling sounds of my fountain while I read a book or do some meditating.
Installing a garden fountain is really easy and comparatively cheap, and will add to the joy of being in your garden. Also, the maintenance level is minimal. Alternatively, a simple pool, reflecting the sky like a long mirror, can make an ordinary garden look surprisingly modern.
Beautify with Plants
Both events showcase of contemporary garden style and trends, particularly in planting design. So, what are the hottest plants this year?
So far, we’ve had beauty firm L’Occitane showing off a gorgeously-scented garden inspired by the history of the perfume industry in Grasse. I loved "Beauty of Islam” – a relaxing sanctuary influenced by Islamic art, designed by Kamelia Bin Zaal, and featuring plants including jasmine, rosemary and papyrus.
We’ve also had traditional British gardens featuring flowers such as roses and peonies, in a palette of greens, pinks, lavender blues and creams. The varieties that have caught the attention of the judges this year include the glorious:'Totally Tangerine, which has been used every year in Chelsea since it was first launched. Camissa, Orange Papaver Aculeatum ( Prince Harry used this in his garden) and Melanoselinum Decipiens were also popular varieties.
If you're looking to add garden plants to your lawn, then I'd suggest you grab a couple of easy to understand books on the topic and soak up all the knowledge you can about how to properly plant garden plants in your lawn.There is much to be learned about gardening, and taking time to get even the most basic knowledge will help you considerably when you are trying to plant the best varieties for your garden.
Once you’ve chosen your theme, do a little research on the kind of plants will work best for you. Japanese gardens look fantastic with traditional cherry blossom for example, but if you want to do something a little more daring, you’ll need to do a little research in order to get it to really work visually.
What makes for an unforgettable garden? The addition of a gazebo, a fountain or a statuette is the answer! A shady tree, an unusual piece of furniture, and a tinkling wind chime make for a pleasant place to spend an afternoon, and with the addition of a solar lantern, a setting for a romantic evening interlude.
Sculptures and a waterfall also add to the ambience. For a relatively small investment and some good planning, a suburban tract can become an artistic haven for both humans and small wildlife. Inject plenty of originality and personality into your design to make sure that your garden reflects who you are and what you love.
Think about accent lighting highlighting your prize plantings. Patio lights can be judiciously used to make your gazebo comfortable for a late evening get together with friends. On the positive side, outlining pathways with small lights prevents stumbles in the twilight.
Make Pathways Interesting
A planned garden that has permanent beds can also have interesting and decorative pathways. Think about using unusual stones or border details to add interest. Try pathways that meander according to your planned beds rather than sticking to straight lines. Maybe you would like to have a yellow brick road as a pathway in your garden?
You can add colour by the plants that you choose or by the containers you pick for spots of colour Look for ways to make color spots show up even better by putting them against contrasting background of other plants, walls or trellises. A Feature wall can be painted a bold shade for that added dash of drama.
While most of us don't have the massive budgets behind the designs at Chelsea and Bloom, that doesn't mean that we can't be creative, daring and original. With a great idea, a bit of hard work and a little dedication you too can have the garden of your dreams.
Spectacular Spring Gardens; It's a Little Early , but Ireland's Finally Bursting into Bloom - and Warm Weather Is the Perfect Opportunity for You to Get out and Enjoy It! Here's a few pictures of one of the gardens I've been working on. Magical....
I was delighted to be interviewed by the team at Positive Life for a feature story about organic gardening ( one of my passions!).It's a wonderful site jam-packed with tips on healthy living, inspirational stories, great recipes and lifestyle advice. Check it out on www.positivelife.ie